665 – Arthur Spiderwicks Field Guide Cover

Arthur Spiderwicks Field Guide Cover

Jared looked around the room, interior illustration from
The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Field Guide
Ink and watercolor on Bristol board
Collection of the artist

Not only did I emulate Arthur Rackham and other turn of the century golden age children’s book illustrators, I paid homage to them. If you were to look up a picture of Arthur Rackham, you would see that Arthur Spiderwick is a dead ringer for Arthur Rackham and this was no coincidence, this was my valentine to the influence that Rackham had upon me. I had first rediscovered his art as I was finishing my last years in art school.

I had found an amazing book that collected a lot of various illustrators from the golden age of illustration and Rackham’s work just struck me. It struck a chord deep within me and I think it was … He was illustrating fairytales that I knew very well. Rip Van Winkle, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Peter Pan, but there was an observation that only comes from spending a lot of time outdoors in nature and you could see it in the veins and the wings of his fairies. You could see it in the gnarled roots of his trees that he drew.

That really resonated with me and it was something that was very impactful on me as a young artist, and still is to this day. Because some of the themes of the Spiderwick Chronicles are these spirits of nature, these goblins and fairies that epitomize elements of nature brushing up against mankind, I thought it very fitting that Arthur Rackham was front and center.